A new Torrance school board policy requiring advance disclosure of how student tests will be used was given final approval Tuesday night.
Prompted by charges that student essays written in February had been improperly analyzed by psychologists to see how much the children knew about drugs, board members ordered administrators to tell teachers and students in advance exactly why a test is being given.
Board President William Blischke said Wednesday that the new guidelines "fill a policy void . . . by assuring parents and students that their privacy will be protected."
Board members ordered that the new policy be prepared after psychologists sent about 50 of the 2,000 essays to principals indicating that the student authors knew too much about drugs.
The new policy also was prompted by disclosures that the district could identify which West High School students intentionally flunked a state assessment test in April. The test, which was supposed to have been anonymous, is used to compare schools with one another.
A description of the new policy will be sent to each principal in the Torrance Unified School District, ordering them to explain how each test will be used and requiring that privacy be guaranteed on any exams intended to be anonymous.